More about how we may be “wired” to think and feel differently, in our basic biology. The following blog is an excerpt from the book, “Magenta Nation: A Path to Healing Ourselves and Our Nation” by Joy Scott…
A Surprising Reason Why We Are Different
Back to Lakoff. He goes on to explain that these differences are due not just to what state someone lives in, or their family background and upbringing, or even their life experience.
There is a biological basis for these differing belief systems. In people who are more fearful, the amygdala – a part of the brain that controls fear – is actually larger. These people consequently feel the emotion of fear more powerfully than others. This biological inclination powers emotions and helps fuel their world view.
On the other hand, people who don’t have this biological feature feel safer – safer in society, safer taking risks, safer in going in new and unfamiliar directions.
Stephen A. Schwartz, in his inspiring book “The 8 Laws of Change: How to be an Agent of Personal and Social Transformation,” also cites this phenomenon, as well as research showing that communitarians may have “increased gray-matter volume in the anterior cingulate cortex,” the region of the brain associated with courage, optimism, and the management of complexity. The research cited from the University College of London also noted that this section of the brain is smaller in patriarchs.8
Try this experiment: Think of people you know of who were raised in a very strict belief system and left it. Maybe they did not have the biological triggers for security that others in their patriarchal communities did. Maybe they felt restricted, or questioned the judgments made on others, or somehow did not fit in with the rules governing what people should be. So, they found a more empathetic community in which to develop.
Conversely, think of people you’ve known who were raised in communities and families that were very accepting of differences – liberal, if you would. And the children sought out another environment entirely – a restrictive church, the military, even a cult led by a messianic, autocratic figure.
Remember the show “Family Ties”? Hippie family, conservative son? “Nurture” does not completely explain our belief systems.
So, biology is in part directing our different belief systems. That fact must be respected. These differences cannot be argued away. You can’t talk someone out of their biology. A new approach is needed to find common ground.
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Think people can’t change their beliefs? Read “Love or Loyalty” to see the power of forgiveness in healing relationships and our nation.
Wondering about how families can heal, even after death? Read “Love Eternal... One More Time” to be amused and enlightened.